Gunmen kill at least 16 people in latest Niger village attack

Theim, Niger: At least 16 people have been killed in an attack on a village in southwest Niger where militant groups have repeatedly slaughtered civilians this year, a local official and security source said on Saturday.

Unidentified gunmen opened fire during Friday prayers in the village of Theim in the Tillabery region and killed 16 people, local mayor Halido Zibo said by phone.

A security source confirmed the attack and estimated the death toll at 17.

Armed groups in Mali’s Tillabery and Tahoua border regions killed more than 420 civilians and forced tens of thousands more from their homes in 2021, said New York-based human rights group Human Rights Watch in a report this month.

The attacks are part of a larger conflict spanning the border regions of Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger in Africa’s Sahel region, where militants linked to al Qaeda and the Islamic State seek to take control . – Reuters